We’ve received a number of emails and Facebook posts referring to the 70% disapprove-30% approve responses to the witf format change.
Some of the writers said that the 70% negative figure was proof of listener preferences. What listeners should know, however, is that this isn’t a statistically valid survey. It’s simply a report on the responses we’ve received.
The format decision, however, was based on years of statistically valid data, and was part of a year-long strategic planning effort by the board. The Arbitron ratings measure actual listening (listener choices and behavior) and showed that there are twice as many listeners for news/information as for classical music. Listeners leave in large numbers when classical music comes on. A statistically valid survey of listeners and donors in 2008 confirmed the news/information preference. A May 2012 online survey (a less rigorous effort, in data terms) also revealed a 3 to 1 preference for news and information.
Most program or format changes elicit a uniformly negative response because persons who are happy rarely contact an organization to say so. The 30% positive response was unusual in that respect and confirmed what the Arbitron data had been showing.
Published in Pressroom
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